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PROTECT: Modular multi-material crash-box for tailored impact absorption during low speed collision

Statistics show that low-speed (20 mph) accidents increased 31% during 2016-2017 (Department of Transport), with injury increase broken down as fatal: +79%, serious: +47%, and slight: +42%.

One of the safety features on any vehicle is the crash box, a thin-walled structure attached between a vehicle’s bumper and side rail to improve crash performance in low-speed accidents.  Determining crash box geometry is important in the absorption of impact energy, because the installation space of the crash box is not very large.  Conventional crash boxes manufactured from steel or aluminium exhibit high-peak force and have no way of controlling the rate of deceleration following a crash.  Composite alternatives are limited in use due to unpredictable failure.

The PROTECT project is developing, testing and designing an innovative new crash-box that will be manufactured in multiple materials and have better impact energy-absorption capabilities than existing crash-boxes, enabling tailored behaviour and performance during low-speed automotive vehicle accidents.  In the event of a low speed collision, therefore, the crash-box will help to reduce damage to the vehicle, its occupants, other road users and the wider public, leading to safer roads and vehicles, along with lower repair costs.

 As a result of the innovative PROTECT solution, the consortium partners expect to create 227 jobs and generate cumulative revenues of £51.6m by 2029.

Partners: Far UK Ltd, also Lead Participant, Composites Evolution Limited, Riversimple Movement Limited and Brunel Composites Centre (BCC).

PROTECT secured funding from Innovate UK under reference number 68148.

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